Lenovo sets up fund for startups
Lenovo Group Ltd announced onWednesday the establishment of a $500 million investment fund, seeking new growth points as the world’s largest personal computer maker is wrestling with a declining global demand for PCs and a faltering smartphone business.
The fund, solely financed by Lenovo, will be used to finance startups in cloud computing, big data, artificial intelligence, robotics, Internet Plus and other emerging sectors.
Yang Yuanqing, chairman and CEO of Lenovo, said the new investment unit, Lenovo Capital and Incubator Group, will help the company find the biggest commercial opportunities in the next decade.
“We won’t place a limit on the size of our investment in innovation as long as startups’ products fit with Lenovo’s broad strategies and really boast cutting-edge techs,” Yang said.
According to Yang, Lenovo is also encouraging its employees to work on innovation projects, which can grow into independent firms, become the company’s units and leverage capital from other investment firms to scale up.
He Zhiqiang, Lenovo’s senior vice president in charge of the new investment unit, said the company will invest in 10 to 20 startups every year and help spin off at least 10 companies from Lenovo’s internal incubation projects this year.
“We value quality over quantity, with focus on earlystage startups,” He said, adding the company is also eyeing overseas investment opportunities.
Lenovo’s intensified efforts to boost innovation came as the company is facing mounting pressure in the PC and smartphone businesses, two of its major revenue sources.
In the first quarter of 2016, Lenovo failed to make its way into global top five smartphone vendors for the first time, according to the research firm International Data Corp.
The company is having difficulty in reviving its appeal to consumers who are willing to buy more expensive handsets while its Chinese peers Oppo Electronics Corp and vivo Mobile Communication Technology Co Ltd leap forward.
Inthe same period, the global demand for PCs hit a nineyear low, despite that Lenovo maintained its leading position in terms of quarterly shipments.
Di Jin, a research manager at IDC China, said Lenovo’s products are facing fierce competition, so it makes sense for the company to look beyond smartphones and PCs for newopportunities.